Administrator of the Digital Bridge Institute (DBI), Nigeriaâ€™s foremost Information and Communications Technology (ICT) capacity building institute, Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde has raised hopes that Nigeria can generate huge revenue from indigenous software exportation, through the right synergy and commitment.
According to him, Nigeria could turn the â€˜Yahoo-Yahooâ€™ syndrome into positive energy that will leapfrog the nation in the area of software development just like India.
This, he said, could be achieved when there is a conscious national will to invest in the training of Nigerian youths and creating the right environment where they can unleash their creative and innovative abilities.
Beyond the training, there must also be a consciousness to patronise their products which are basically software and apps rather than sourcing for these products abroad.
â€œIf you look at the demographics of our young people you will find out that they ate very savvy, entrepreneurial and talented but I think there are a number of environmental factors that also limit opportunities which is why some of them, in a bid to survive, deploy these talents negatively.
â€œIndia was able to identify the need to mainstream the talents and skills of their young people positively by consciously building a structure and framework to enable them acquire these skills and it became an export product for India and the rest of the world and that is what Nigeria has not doneâ€, he said.
The DBI boss said Nigeria should be able to export software and allied products as an alternative foreign exchange earner in much the same way India has done over the years.
â€œIf we are able to harness the potentials of these young people, especially in the area of ICT it will amaze you how much they will unleash. Many of the Africa economies are waiting for Nigeria; a lot of our young people can go into sub-Saharan countries in West, East and North Africa by exporting their skills to do things but that hasnâ€™t happened because there has not been a conscious effort to actually develop these things and tap into them.
â€œWe had made a case sometime in 2016 at the capacity building symposium organised by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) that the investments in Universal Service Provision Fund (USPF) across Africa instead of being channelled wholly and exclusively to ICT infrastructure should be dedicated to ICT skills development. He said if someone is investing $10 million in ICT infrastructure, 10 per cent of the money should go for ICT skills development especially targeted at the youths now commonly called the millennials.
â€œThey are the ones who will use the infrastructure to innovate, create and develop the things that will make the future happen, but as long as we donâ€™t make that investment then it means that youâ€™ll put a piece of ICT equipment in an office and nobody is using it because the skills are not thereâ€, he said.
According to him, there is a critical need to invest in building ICT capacity for the young people and thatâ€™s why â€œDBI continues to innovate programmes that target the young people so that we fulfil our mandate in that areaâ€.
He explained that their training focuses on both young persons and those who are advanced in age but wish to upscale their ICT skills. â€œWe have young people who have just finished from secondary school and are looking to pursue a career in ICT. They join our National Innovation Diploma programme, which is a two-year programme (Telecommunications Technology, Multimedia Technology, Networking and Systems Security and Computer Hardware and Software Engineering), after which they can move on or if they want to continue at a higher level they can pursue a degree in higher institutions,â€ Adinde said.